None of the nootropics below need a prescription, and they are not restricted ingredients or controlled substances. However, this does not mean that they are side effect-free for everyone. If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, or under the age of eighteen, you should not take these or any supplements. If you are taking any medication, you should check with your doctor to make sure that any new supplement is not likely to interact negatively with your medications.
Rhodiola Rosea appears to reduce fatigue, both mental and physical, and consumers in clinical trials rate their subjective wellbeing as higher than placebo-takers.
Rhodiola Rosea also appears to somewhat improve cognition and “subjective wellbeing”, but these appear to be positive side effects of fatigue reduction. An added bonus is that it appears to reduce stress slightly too!
Studies indicate that doses between 300 mg and 680 mg per day have the best effects upon fatigue.
Tyrosine is an amino acid that is used by the body to produce dopamine, and supplementation appears to reduce some of the negative effects and perception of stress. Now if that wasn’t enough to convince you that tyrosine is for you, then check this out; there’s some evidence that tyrosine can reduce fatigue in sleep deprived people. As tyrosine is an amino acid, it can be found in food too. High tyrosine foods include cheese, soybeans, beef, lamb, pork, fish, chicken, nuts, seeds, eggs, dairy, beans, and whole grains.
American Ginseng is an adaptogen, meaning that is thought to help the body adapt to stress. It also appears to boost mental energy. Studies, mostly in animals, have also suggested that it can lower blood sugar levels, reduce the severity of colds, aid relaxation, and enhance cognition.
One preliminary study suggested that American ginseng, in combination with ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba), could help to treat ADHD; more research is needed, but this has led to some speculation that the combination could increase focus in general.
Typical doses are between 100 mg and 200 mg a day.
There are several different types of Ginseng, and it is important not to confuse them, as they all have slightly different uses, dosing, and potential side effects.
Is it technically cheating if numbers four and five on the list should be taken together for optimal results? Caffeine is well-known for boosting mental energy levels, alertness, and energy levels in general. This is not just anecdotal knowledge; caffeine’s benefits are supported by hundreds of clinical trials.
However, it can be a bit harsh, and if you drink too much then you can easily skip right past “energised and ready to work” and into “bouncing off the walls”. Theanine is the answer to all of your caffeine problems, as it appears to reduce the negative side effects of caffeine, including jitters. It also acts to relax you, and so the combination of the two provide a clear, calm mental energy.
Theanine naturally occurs in green tea, as does a small amount of caffeine, and so you could turn to a cup of green tea for this effect. However, drinking brewed green tea makes it more difficult to regulate the amounts of caffeine and theanine you are getting. When looking for supplements, try to get a rough 2:1 ratio, such as 100 mg of theanine and 50 mg of caffeine.